Art business Drawing Gardening Ink and watercolor wash Outdoors/Landscape Painting Plants Sketchbook Pages

Between a Rock and… a Request for Help

Moss Rock Grows Moss, ink, Pentel Brush Pen & watercolor
Moss Rock Grows Moss (typo--it's 2011!) ink, Pentel Brush Pen & watercolor

After ten years this very large rock sold to me as a “Moss Rock” and installed in my front garden has finally grown a patch of moss. It looked so pretty and the day was unseasonably warm and sunny so I couldn’t resist going out to sketch it. I sat on my porch and drew the mossy rock while my usually indoor kitties joined me in the sun.

And now my request for advice:

I need help figuring out how to sort/store my oil paintings. I have at least a hundred oil paintings and plein air studies on panels (probably more) that I’ve done over the past few years. I’m sure for some people it’s simple: just sell them all.

But if you’re like me and still have many paintings on hand, I’d love to hear how you organize, catalog, store and/or protect them from damage. I have many watercolors on paper in large flat files sorted by subject matter, with drawers labeled accordingly. But I haven’t figured out a good system for my oils.

When I get a request from someone wanting to purchase a painting it can be challenging to find it and I always have my fingers crossed that it hasn’t gotten damaged.

My questions:

ORGANIZING: Do you store your paintings by subject? Size? Date? Inventory number (requires entering in art tracking program)? OR…just skip the organizing and spend the time painting instead?!!

STORAGE: Should they be separated with wax paper when stored touching each other? Does it matter if they’re in the dark?  My garage is fairly dry but not insulated so is affected by weather. Is it ok to store oils on panels in Clearbag envelopes to protect their surface?

At the beginning of the year I usually sort through the past year’s paintings stored vertically on shelves like books in my studio. I dump the losers, label the keepers, and move older paintings to shelves in the garage. This year I had the flu during my two-week holiday vacation so never did the “dump and sort” so paintings have piled up in the studio shelves and storage closet and there are more drying.

Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!